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Rhombus Tech A10 EOMA-68 CPU Card Schematics Completed 155

lkcl writes "Rhombus Tech's first CPU Card is nearing completion and availability: the schematics have been completed by Wits-Tech. Although it appears strange to be using a 1ghz Cortex A8 for the first CPU Card, the mass-volume price of the A10 was lower than other offerings. Not only does the A10 classify as 'good enough' (in combination with 1GB of RAM), Allwinner Tech is one of the very rare China-based SoC companies willing to collaborate with Software (Libre) developers without an enforced (GPL-violating) NDA in place. Overall, it's the very first step in the right direction for collaboration between Software (Libre) developers and mass-volume PRC Factories. There will be more (faster, better) EOMA-68 CPU Cards: this one is just the first."
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Rhombus Tech A10 EOMA-68 CPU Card Schematics Completed

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  • Re:Schematics? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lkcl ( 517947 ) <> on Saturday September 08, 2012 @12:42AM (#41270917) Homepage

    In brief, keep up the good work, that sounds really good!

    thank you, that's really appreciated. can i suggest you join the mailing list or just keep an eye on it via gmane or something, if you prefer? lots of people subscribe "no-mail" then lurk on gmane and they can then post if they want to, without filling up their mailbox. here's the subscription page: []

    feel free to ask anything you like, there, ok? or, ah, what might suit you: join the irc channel #arm-netbook on freenode. /peace

  • Re:WHAT? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lkcl ( 517947 ) <> on Saturday September 08, 2012 @10:38AM (#41273313) Homepage's a CPU that uses an actual real standard for connecting to the rest of the motherboard/system?

    yeah. actually, several "lowest-common-denominator" standards, just placed onto nothing more complex than an existing legacy (but still manufactured) standard.

    PCMCIA is still manufactured in mass-volume, but not as PCMCIA. instead, it's been re-used by the Satellite TV Industry for decrypt purposes. that makes it perfect: the risk of people misunderstanding EOMA-68 as being an *actual* PCMCIA card (when it isn't) is reduced, but the cost of manufacturing the EOMA-68 cards isn't sky-high due to having to make an entirely new connector (or use one of the less common $12 ones).

    EOMA-68 itself is made up of well-established proven standards that have down-level negotiation built-in, as well as multi-peripheral support (ok, except for 24-pin RGB/TTL that is!). SATA, USB2, I2C and Ethernet: they're all multi-bus standards that have been around for at least a decade. with the exception of SATA, it's actually quite hard to find an embedded SoC that *doesn't* have all the interfaces of EOMA-68, and even there you can put on USB2-to-Ethernet or USB2-to-SATA. ironically, though, the cost of those ICs actually pushes the BOM up by an extra $5, making it completely pointless to consider using a lower-cost SoC that *doesn't* have Ethernet and SATA built-in. many people asked us to use Allwinner's $5 A13 CPU for an EOMA-68 CPU Card: when i pointed out that it would need an extra $5 of components, taking it *above* the mass-volume price of the Allwinner A10 CPU they went... "oh. yeah. duh. go figure :)"

    Wow. Standards for freedom for end users, something the megacorps purposefully forget about. What a concept.

    yeah. you get it. that's really encouraging to hear. take it one step further though: think the implications through. cost savings for the users. increased competition amongst CPU Card suppliers bringing prices down. ability of end-users to extend the lifetime of a product until one component literally falls apart... and them being able to just go down to the hypermarket and pick up a replacement screen, replacement battery pack or replacement CPU Card off-the-shelf, 1 or even 10 years from now, and it's *still* backwards-compatible. ... now we just need to be able to convince companies like, Best Buy, John Lewis, Walmart etc. and to come up with a story for them that will convince them to buy 100k+ units a month :)

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.